Sunday, June 21, 2015

Energizing Fear

Fear might be one of the most powerful weapons in Satan's arsenal.

It steals dreams and undermines skill.

Fear holds us back, often regardless of God's nudge forward.

Fear commands attention, both physically and emotionally.

And then we have a choice to makegive in to it or move forward despite it.

The choice to let fear control us...or to take control of the fear.

What if we defeat fear with a few first steps?

1 - Identify where it's coming from.

Is there a legitimate danger to be aware of? A warning to be heeded? A real sense of being in harm's way is not the same as anxiety felt over the what-ifs of a situation. Yet, the word "fear" can be used for both.

2 - Pray.

Satan uses fear to keep us from what God has planned. I often have to remind myself that times I feel most under attack might be the very times God is working on something big. If I give in to the fear, I might just miss what He has planned.

3 - Ask God for guidance and wisdom.

How can we step forward in faith without rushing ahead of where God wants us right now? Sometimes I don't realize I've rushed ahead until I turn around and see I've been going it alone. Maybe fear is a reminder to make sure we're walking with God, not speeding past Him.

Satan uses fear against us, but perhaps instead of letting it slow us down, we can let it energize move us forward in all God has planned for us.

Where has fear held you back in the past? Where might it be trying to control you now?

In Christ,

Monday, June 8, 2015

Change and Vulnerability

It's been a long time since we've had someone who couldn't basically take care of themselves living in our house. We don't have small children, our elderly cat passed away years ago, and fish don't count, although they lived into their senior years and are gone now too.

We don't make decisions willy-nilly. We discuss, think about, research, and discuss some more...often to the point of ridiculousness. And...we've finally decided it's time to get a kitten.

Funny thing is, despite all the preparing, I'm finding myself a little scared with all of the what-ifs. What if she gets sick? What if she doesn't like it here? What if she destroys the house?

Like with anything, there are questions and particulars to be worked out. I'm used to the way things are, and now there will be changes and someone new to take care of.

Change can be worrisome, but it can also be awesome.

Maybe the scariest thing about change is that it leads to vulnerability...the unknown, the what-ifs, and all of the feelings and emotions that go with that.

Open hearts are vulnerable. Closed hearts are safe.

Open hearts grow and experience life. Closed hearts wither over time.

Open hearts risk getting hurt. Closed hearts are already hurting...they just don't always know it. [Tweet this]

Living vulnerable can be scary, but I think the alternative is more frightening.

So, we're making this little change, and despite the inevitable things we’ll do wrong, there will be so many more things we do right. And it will be good.

In Christ,

Monday, June 1, 2015

Everyone Has a Story

Last week I visited with a farm cat named Brindle. Okay, "visited" is a stretch. As a farm cat, she comes and goes as she pleases.

But I know she has a story...because everyone does. Even when we don't think we have one.

I know Brindle disappeared for a year, and only recently came back. I know she's had multiple litters of kittens, and two of her kids are still around. And I know she's a sweetheart, but she is bullied by the other farm cats.

I wanted to hear more, but Brindle wasn't sharing her story. At least, not in a way I could understand.

Maybe, she doesn't think her story is worth sharing. I can relate. Sometimes we think our stories aren't exciting enough to share.

Or we don't share because we don't want to relive certain parts of the story. That's okay. No one should be forced to share. But everyone should have the opportunity to release what they hold tightly inside, if they choose.

Because everyone has a story.

Our lives are made up of moments and seasons that contribute to who we are and who we become. [Tweet this]

Sharing our experiences with others helps to forge friendships, and it encourages them to share with us.

That means we need to be people who listen to others. Just listen. Not try to "fix it" or give counsel. Just listen with our full attention.

Jesus listened. He gave others His full attention. His story is the one we should want to hear the most.

And although He already knows everything about us, He wants us to share our stories with Him...because He wants to spend time with us.

And that's something we should want to share with others.

In Christ,